Reading on-line newspapers is my remote connection to that big ole world outside my dirt road. Four of my children, now mostly grown, had a brother who lived at this particular camp for years. This young teen was a sexual perpetrator who responded to treatment there after many years, and is now living fairly successfully on his own.
I've met several counselors from there over the years, one came here for a couple of visits with that brother, and another one met me in Chicago for a Naval Basic training graduation with that same brother. That counselor has stayed in touch with me, he remained an unofficial foster parent as this child aged out. In my limited opinion, this particular camp did wonders with Rolando.
But politics, like I also often saw occurring in the school system, has reared its warty head and has caused monumental problems without a blithe thought to the children. I had an email this morning from a parent who has a child at the same facility in Atlanta where my Alex is, and the politics of returning mentally ill children to the community is going to cost these children in horrific ways. Neither that mother, nor I, can keep our children safe from themselves.
Audrey's blog today was also a stomach wrencher. As I read her words I was transported back to my years with Cristy, who we fondly referred to then as La Loquita. Cristy is now a psychology student, a para-professional bi-lingual in the school system, and a married woman...the difference being, most likely, Cristy had a family...that she then hated, rejected, damaged, raged against, ran away from, destroyed relationships to for years and hurt herself deeply in the process. But now, 16 years later, we can smile about it all.
Audrey laments, "I've worked at a placement, I know they have their rules, but now I work at DFCS and for GODS SAKE PEOPLE ITS A LOCK DOWN FACILITY, IF SHE WANTED TO BE THERE IT WOULDN'T HAVE TO BE LOCK DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!! (let the exclamation police get ahold of that one).
Bottom line is that eventually I began to cry full of frustration and anger as about 7 staff members watched me have a full break down at the placement including yells of "what do you want me to do with her if you can't do anything with her". Eventually a calm, therapeutic clinical director came and took ME into one of the therapy rooms and tried to calm ME down."
Amen to that Audrey.
What adoptive parent hasn't dissolved into tears of frustration and of pure white-hot rage at a system that can't, or won't, help us? We have severely damaged, potentially very dangerous children in our custody. We need help. DUH.
Contrast that with the county I live in, formerly a very rural, small school system where I've been happy for 30 years. Now mega mansions are springing up, the very upper class is moving in, and some materially spoiled children are in our school system.
Last night at soccer I caught Sabrina, (11) staring at a girl her age who was wearing a belt-clip cell phone and uber trendy soccer duds. And us? When Allen's team was finished practicing we had to sprint to the van and let him and Martin swap equipment and shorts. But my kids were laughing and carrying on with each other, and I never saw the 11 year old cool girl even smile once.
I drop my children off at school in the morning with the usual admonition, "Make me proud y'all" but lately I'm feeling I should add, "Try and act somewhat normal," as I doubt some of our old acting behaviors would go over well in this ever-changing, upwardly-mobile environment, thank God our resident feces flinger only does that only at home nowadays.
My kids did look normal last night at soccer practice, no fist fights nor meltdowns, just great ball playing. We've added Scotty to the mix now, but Lily has dropped out, preferring her own world of art and nature. On the U12 team, I have 6 kids, all good aggressive, skillful players.
I was watching practice, all 3 teams go from 6-9 pm on Tuesday now, when Deysi called me that her car wouldn't crank and, of course, the cables were at the doublewide on our property. I left Vanessa and Joey watching the kids while Edgar drove me (he's seriously glued to my side each evening as my chauffeur) to Kroger to tend to Deysi, we swung by and picked Miriam up from work, and didn't get everyone home and in bed until 9:30...too late on a school night.
First night on the soccer field, different parents were greeting us, I'm wracking my pea brain for names, and acting as if I remember everyone there, bouncing between three fields, and thinking about a placement that is taking too long from Texas to Kansas. It's truly a wonder that I don't just short circuit but I keep a notebook going, a huge Franklin-Covey planner, nagging children, and a mental checklist.
Our washer is fixed after a repairman removed duct tape, marbles, pencils, a straw and ball bearings from the pump...and I'm pretty good about checking pockets, obviously I'm not good enough.
Today the children get out of school early and I'm just going to let them swim their own selves into exhaustion. I'm looking forward to that simple concept.
I'll lifeguard them, as I always do, and let my mind chew on the plight of children worldwide. If I were not so obsessed, I wouldn't have 39 kids. Now that I know I cannot physically, emotionally, nor any other way, parent a single other child, I need to think of other ways to encourage people, to find help and resources, and to continue both in AAN and in blogging where I have "met" some very fantastic parents.
Parents who are hanging in there, who are struggling (see all links on my blog for examples), who are temporarily over-whelmed and, certainly permanently altered in their thinking and in their life-styles by the mere simple act of adoption. It's not exactly what any of us expected. Not even close...